Intern Report! Maryland Thoroughbred Career Program

by Sara Gordon For a young person considering future careers, looking at the T oroughbred industry, espe- cially with the notion to become involved, can be intimidating. But the reality is, the “sport of kings,” fi lled with historic equine bloodlines, families and traditions, stands with open arms ready for new blood, new ideas, and driven peo- ple to implement them. T e Maryland T or-

oughbred Career Pro- gram (MTCP) was cre- ated by Jordyn Egan and Cricket Goodall of the Maryland Horse Breed- er’s Association. Inspired by the Godolphin Fly- ing Start program (a two-year leadership and management training program in Ireland spe- cializing in international T oroughbred racing), they wanted to off er young adults the oppor- tunity to get to know all aspects of the Mary- land T oroughbred industry. Although only one week, the MTPC was fl exible in how it could be tailored to each individual selected depending on the students’ specifi c career in- terest. T roughout this program, no career idea or plan was too far-fetched. T e outside world may just see the horses, jockeys, and trainers, but the industry is made up of so much more. But students didn’t need to know exactly what they wanted to do in the industry to be able to explore it. For me, I am pursuing a degree in multimedia journalism with a minor in equine science at Virginia Tech. An interesting combi- nation, but one that would fl ow perfectly into my hopes of working in the publication/media/ communication side of the industry. Our week started off with an introduction to the MHBA staff , while all of us participants got to know each other as well. We were able to sit in on a Horseland meeting for the Maryland State Fair, as well as speak with Ross Peddicord of the Maryland Horse Industry Board, who provided insight into the current state and future plans for the horse industry in Mary- land. In just the fi rst day of the program, we had been exposed to the MHBA, MHIB, the Mid-At- lantic T oroughbred magazine staff , and a meeting with Mike Hopkins of the Maryland Racing Commis- sion.

Despite the short time frame of

the program, it was jam-packed with constant travel to each new location. Highlights included: vis- its to Fair Hill (Elkton) and the Fair Hill Equine T erapy Center, | 800-244-9580

Retraining the retired race horse through RRP at Dodon Farm (Davidsonville)

Heritage Stallions (Chesapeake City), Saga- more Farm (Reisterstown) and T e Mill of Bel Air (Bel Air). We had meetings with members at the Laurel Park racing offi ce, listened to Steuart Pittman discuss the creation of the Re- tired Racehorse Project, and spent a day at the races with the Maryland Horse Council. In the span of six days, we managed to visit six major Thoroughbred farms,


Starting gate training at the Fair Hill Training Center (Elkton)

of important members in the Thoroughbred community, and explored various associations and topics refl ecting the variety with- in the industry. Although I listed all of them as separate en-

tities, the one thing everyone we met during the program repeated was that being in the industry isn’t just a job, it’s a way of life. Every- one had their own personal story of how they worked their way up the ranks, whether they had originally planned to become a part of the industry or not. Whether you prefer the mar- keting,

regulation, publication, breeding,

training, or T oroughbred aftercare, there is no limit to the opportunities available. Being a part of this program, especially

the fi rst class, has truly been one of the best experiences of my life. Going into the program, I knew that I wanted to continue being involved with horses for the rest of my life, and previous experience working on a T oroughbred farm had set my eye on the industry. But this program has truly ce- mented my dedication to becoming a part of this industry.

I know that the six of us who participated this summer will treasure the experiences and connections made, and we are espe-

Top 10 Tips from the Maryland Thoroughbred Career Program

1. Gateway opportunities are the most impor- tant, take advantage of those (Ross Peddicord – MHIB) 2. Personality goes a long way (Mike Hopkins – Maryland Racing Commission) 3. Always have a clear idea of what’s important to you (Kathy Anderson – Equine Veterinary Care at Fair Hill Training Center) 4. If you’re going to be in the business, know who’s developing your horses (Willie White – MHBA) 5. You put yourself into a better position by chas- ing what you think is a good horse, rather than what’s good on the market (Louis Merryman - Heritage Stallions) 6. Whatever you can do to learn fi ner points of communication is very important (David Rich- ardson – MTHA) 7. You must carry on despite criticism, continue what you’re doing (Tom LaMarra – MTHA) 8. If you choose a job in this industry, know it’s going to be your life (Sal Sinatra – MJC) 9. Respect the people who work with you and around you (Phoebe Hayes – Director of Horse- men’s Relations at Pimlico) 10. T ere are plenty of ways to get a horse-fi x, as well as plenty of ways to make a career (Cricket Goodall – MHBA)


cially grateful to Jordyn Egan for putting in so much eff ort to make it as special as it was. I look forward to seeing this program thrive and its participants lead the change that is neces- sary for Maryland to once again take its right- ful place as a leader in the nation’s T orough- bred industry.

Sara Gordon, a junior at Virginia Tech, interned for T e Equiery in the summer of 2016. Since then she has been immersing herself in the Mary- land T oroughbred industry.

A bit of history at Country Life Farm (Fallston)

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